Friday, September 6, 2013

Love and Closeness Challenge #1: Using Loving Words

I read every night and last night as I was reading it struck me that I don't put into practice the vast majority of what I read. What an incredible waste of my time. Knowledge is useless if it isn't put to good use. I made a decision that from this day forward I'm going to put what I read  into practice if I feel that it would be truly helpful in increasing love and closeness in my relationship.
I made this promise to myself and then continued to read. As I was falling asleep I had an idea that excited me. Why not share what I'm learning on my blog? I truly enjoy blogging, I enjoy reading and helping others to have the best relationships that they can is my life's mission. It's a perfect fit. My life is busy, as I'm sure yours is too, so I won't overwhelm myself or readers with too much information or too much to do. I'm going to present one thing to put into practice each day that will help you to increase the good feelings in your relationship and bring you closer to your mate and others.
I'm calling it "The Love and Closeness Challenge". Instead of writing long blog posts about my theories and abstract concepts that are difficult to apply, I'm going to keep it short and simple. I'll give a "challenge", something that you can take a specific action on and some background information about why it will help you to improve your relationship.

My very first love and closeness challenge for you is to become aware of the energy you are putting out in the form of the words you use. Pause to think before you speak and know that your words have the power to bring others closer and make them feel good or to push others away and tear them down. Practice using only loving words only with your mate, children, co-workers,  friends, family and strangers. If what you are thinking of saying will not make the other person feel good, don't say it. Use words of praise, love, compassion, acceptance, admiration, support and encouragement. If you are thinking of saying something critical, think of something that you appreciate about the person you are speaking with and voice that instead. In short: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."  

According to John Gottman, Ph.D., criticism, contempt and defensiveness are reliable predictors of an unhappy relationship, one likely to end in separation. In this CNN article the author writes about the devastating effects a woman's words can have on her mate's self esteem. In general, men are more effected by their mate's critical words than women and causes them to lose trust and withdraw. 
This article on bullying in schools gives the following statistics: 

  • 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school. 
  • Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.
  • 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying. 
Hurtful words have a detrimental effect not only on the recipient, but also the sender. 
Remember that you only get so much time to spend with the people that you love. If you knew that this would be the last day that you could be with the people you care about, what would you say? 

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.” Buddha

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